SLO County health officials warn of restaurant inspection scam

San Luis Obispo County health department officials have alerted local business owners of a fraud scheme that has so far targeted businesses in Northern California.

No reports of the scam have been reported in San Luis Obispo County, but health officials are reminding restaurant and other business owners of their policies to avoid similar fraud happening here.

According to health officials, a number of restaurants in Stanislaus County have received phone calls from a person claiming to be a health inspector and introducing a new procedure to arrange a health inspection.

The caller asks the business owner to follow a procedure to get a special code to confirm the inspection. The business owner later receives a second call asking for the confirmation code.

The calls are part of a larger fraud, health officials say, involving setting up verified accounts with a national online auction service. The purpose of the code request is to get the business owner to provide false verification to the online auction service, so that the original caller can establish an online account.

The county health department does not announce inspections in advance, nor will health employees call to set up an inspection or call in advance of an inspection. The environmental health services department has not set up a new inspection procedure.

For more information, call 781-5544.